SETP Vol. 4 Chapter 20
Chapter 20 – Glacier World
Once again, I realized I wasn’t a match for him.
…no, that wasn’t right.
That’s what *he made me think*.
“ — ha…hahaha…”
I swung my sword. That was all I could do, in my past or present life.
That was the only ability I had, as someone who lived in a hellish world where lamenters never found solace.
What could I do? To swing my sword, to kill, that was it.
I swung my sword for my own satisfaction, nothing else. I didn’t kill because I enjoyed it, but my actions were the same as those beasts I hated so much.
When Fay Hanse Diestburg started being called the “Trash Prince” I accepted it, I welcomed it. It was the absolute truth, I admitted.
“I’ll never be a match for him…will I.”
Why did a man who could do nothing but slash and kill find a way to an answer? How can he be standing here today? It was all thanks to the man who told him he would find his answer if he kept on living.
A sword that knew nothing but death found a chance to save someone else. And succeeded.
A sword that knew nothing but death could save someone, as it happened to its wielder in the past.
This is really…
“Really — really grand.”
The words my mentor told me that day resurfaced in my mind, and my smile deepened.
So — thank you.
I said the same words my mentor told me that fateful day. The path you walked on is, now like before, my goal. So I confessed to him in my heart.
An empty ending.
My weak heart was torn apart by too many goodbyes.
What came after that, however, was not emptiness, but an “answer” I was satisfied with.
“You have my thanks, Grimnaught Izak. Thanks to you, I realized something.”
Thanks to you, I can now say this.
Thanks to you, I could find some value in trash like myself.
If my sword can save lives — I will wield it.
If my sword can give light to those who lost their way — I will wield it.
If my sword can change something — I will wield it.
In the end, all that is left for me is to wield my sword.
Don’t think that a filthy life like yours has any real value. You are nothing but a murderer. Spewing nonsense about hating the sword, preaching about the importance of human life…in the end, I was just a filthy murderer, who killed countless people to survive. If someone like me had even the tiniest chance to save another person, I would do it no matter the cost.
A voice called out to me.
“Oh…? So what did you realize…?”
“Before, I thought that even if I had the chance to save someone else, it was just a coincidence.”
But that was not true.
The existence of that *coincidence* itself was proof that I was saved. Because that single reality was what allowed me to stop looking down all the time and raise my head, at least a little.
To be saved by others, hoping, praying to find peace one day. To ultimately fail to find an answer, and end up wishing to die. Seeing such a person, so similar to my past self, made me realize it.
Because of the path I blindly believed in my past life, I was now blessed by the opportunity to save someone else.
“That was completely wrong.”
I continued speaking, with a smile on my lips. A smile from the heart, not the mask I put on before.
I pointed the tip of my “Spada” towards Grimnaught. I was gripping it so hard that the veins on my hands bulged.
“You’re just like the people who lived in that era. That’s probably the reason why I can recall the past me so clearly when I look at you and Elena. Thanks to you, I could realize just how blessed I am now.”
Thus I pointed my sword at him.
I directed my killing intent to the man who shouted his desire to tread the line between life and death.
Because I was sure that it was what he wished.
“To wield a sword is all I can do, even now. So— ”
I inhaled deeply.
My eyes and lips both smiled, with a hint of nostalgia.
“ — I will repay you by granting you the most relieving defeat of your life.”
“Haha…hahaha, listen to you. Would I ever find someone else that could say that to my face, even if I searched the whole world…?”
“As long as I can wield my sword, I have a reason not to lose. If I lose, then all I stand for means nothing. As long as I carry what I was entrusted with, I cannot allow that…so I have to win. There’s no way I’ll ever lose. I’ll win, even if I die. That’s my reason to live.”
Then I uttered that person’s name.
“So lend me your strength — Vincenz, my mentor.”
Differently from before, the weapon in my hands did not change.
Because the “Spada” I usually used was modeled after my mentor’s sword.
“You wished for this battle. Don’t you back down now.”
“Not a chance!!! Do not insult me at this point, boy!!”
I — the “Sword Emperor” who engraved the blades of tens of thousands of warriors in his, laughed heartily in the same way as the man trembling in excitement before me, Grimnaught Izak.
I then exhaled, for a few seconds.
“If you’re alive, there must be a meaning to it. Maybe you don’t understand why people gave their lives for you, but your future might be bright.”
So there was meaning in continuing to live.
That’s why there was an “answer” if you lived on.
“At the very least, I am satisfied now. I wished to die so many times, yet blindly believed that I should live on. I survived as long as I could…and thanks to that, I can now laugh like this.”
This kind of life wasn’t bad either.
I stepped on the ground, firmly.
It was the signal to start.
The next second, only a shadowy blur remained in the spot I was standing in: I had instantly covered the dozen or so meters that separated me from Grimnaught.
“ — ngh”
By the time I heard Grimnaught emit such a guttural sound, I had already finished swinging my “Spada”.
Sword and spear clashed. The resulting impact caused the ground under Grimnaught’s feet to sink slightly. A cloud of sand and dust rose up, disrupting our sight.
Sounds of grinding metal could be heard from our weapons.
The muscles in Grimnaught’s arms swelled to the point they looked like tree trunks. Those two powerful arms firmly gripped his ice spear.
The difference in muscle power and size was clear as day.
Anyone watching would have expected me to be blown away, like a leaf in the wind.
That wasn’t going to happen though.
There was no way my sword arm could be stopped so easily. I focused more strength in my grip, ignoring the painful creaking sounds from my arms.
“Time to fly.”
Grimnaught’s body started leaning backwards. I would continue to push it down, eventually blowing him away — or so I expected.
Grimnaught’s body was only pushed back a few meters however. His feet dug tracks into the ground, killing all momentum.
I looked down and noticed a sheet of ice under his feet.
It was clearly what acted as a stopper and prevented me from blowing him away.
Grimnaught wasted no time addressing my comment: he instantly switched the grip on his ice spear and thrust it forward, so powerfully the wind roared in its wake.
A thrust so fast it well exceeded human limits: it wouldn’t have even reflected in the eyes of the average person.
Though, it was not beyond my ability to dodge.
My trained instincts allowed me to predict where it would come from, so I could twist my body out of the way and avoid it completely.
Grimnaught looked at me wide-eyed, as if he suspected I could see the future.
I immediately drew a sweeping arc in front of me with my “Spada”: that opening was going to be lethal for him. That slash too, however, only managed to graze my opponent’s body.
Grimnaught avoided the lethal blow by bending his upper body backwards, then immediately returned on the offensive. Our weapons met again.
He took advantage of his momentum to forcefully rotate his spear. Our blades clashed again and again, rattling the very atmosphere in the process.
Sounds of scraping metal and sparks were left behind as our exchange continued.
It wasn’t going to last long though.
Grimnaught could sustain that superhuman clash of swords only for a dozen seconds.
It was a deadly clash so intense that every second felt like it lasted an eternity — even so, he reached his limits rather quickly.
“ — ”
Grimnaught stopped attacking so suddenly, one might suspect he was paralyzed.
His arms had gone numb.
Because of the weight I gave to my slashes *on purpose*, his arms started trembling, completely numb.
“N-not so fast— !”
Grimnaught’s judgement was as quick as lightning. He let go of his spear the moment he realized he couldn’t hold it anymore and crossed his quivering arms, to defend against the upcoming attack.
A sudden rush of crackling sounds: he covered his whole body in ice, focusing especially on his arms. It was an ice shield the size of a wall.
“I won’t have mercy.”
The attack was delivered by my small physique.
It was heavy enough to render the empire’s strongest warrior unable to counter.
I felt the sensation of something cracking through my “Spada”.
The next sound that reached my ears was that of spitting blood.
Grimnaught was blown away, like ashes in the wind. He rolled and bounced on the ground several times, raising sand and dust in his wake.
Yet he didn’t give up.
“ — !!”
Grimnaught was far enough to look like the size of a bean in my eyes. But he stood up again, spitting blood, shouting, prepared to fight until the end.
And the next instant—
I heard a distant rumble, caused maybe by Grimnaught’s impact against something. At the same time, all icicles floating in midair bared their fangs at me.
The icicles had remained inactive until now, probably because Grimnaught thought “Hail Coffin Deluge” would have just gotten in the way during our previous exchange. Or maybe — because he knew it wouldn’t work on me.
The icicles were intercepted and shattered by the shadow weapons also floating in midair, created by my “Shadow Corpse Parade”, turning the deluge into ice shards.
The battle was over. Such a thought crossed my mind for a second.
I immediately realized, however, that such a conclusion was not possible.
I said that Grimnaught was just like the warriors of that era.
I thus had to conclude that *there was no way things would end like this*.
As if to validate my assumption, a chilling wind brushed against my cheeks.
“ — hah.”
The distance between Grimnaught and me was very wide.
There was no way his voice could actually reach me, but I thought I heard it nonetheless. I couldn’t help but grin.
“Spread, o Glacier World!”
You just won’t give up, will you.
After I voiced such a comment and sighed, the scenery before me was completely covered in ice.